Monday, June 12, 2006

But Seriously, Folks...

Seriously, I shall not, ever again, underestimate Denny Hamlin. I think I already knew better than that, and the error of my ways was brought to my attention long before the start of Sundays race, when Denny took the pole. Then, watching the NBS race at Nashville, in the closing laps, I was astounded at the moves young Hamlin was putting on none other than Kevin Harvick in a battle for second. It was then that I realized that I had not merely underestimated the young driver from Virginia, but I had seriously misjudged him. Honestly, I should have known better. The accomplishment of Denny Hamlin, Mike Ford, and the entire Fed Ex team was no less than incredible.

I was actually relieved to see Jeff Gordon climb out of that car, as I am sure most of us race fans were. That was a scary wreck. I don't like Gordon, but I would never wish harm on anybody in any race car. His composure almost surprised me, but we can't forget that, even while he is active, is a genuine legend among NASCAR drivers.

I don't know what it is going to take for a Yates driver to get a win. Jarrett and Sadler are both excellent, highly skilled drivers. And it can't be the engineering--both Robert and Doug Yates are highly accomplished engineers--and both are hands on in the design of the cars and the engines. That leaves only one explanation, and its not a very good one. Bad Luck.

Another realization struck me Saturday, as the drivers were traveling from the practice at Pocono to the NBS race at Nashville. I get really nervous when these guys travel. It used to make me nervous when Tony Stewart or Robby Gordon traveled between Indianapolis and Charlotte to run both races, too. The relief when they arrive safely is incredible. I think it is that Davey Allison’s death in a helicopter crash back in 1993 hit me so hard. I hope I am always able to breath a sigh of relief every week these guys travel.

"The Smoke Factor is back."
That is what Tony Stewart told his team, feeling comfortable with his injured shoulder, his car, and his driving ability. Last year, at Michigan, he was very disappointed in his second place finish. I think he is ready to win there next week. If his performance is as good as it was Sunday, he more than likely would. He got his 100th top five finish in his eighth year in Cup racing, which is quite a guage of his ability. He showed little sign of having a fractured scapula, and his performance was summed up by this quote by one of the Fox commentators:
"Smoke at 80% is better than 50% of the other drivers."
I think it was DW who said that, and I couldn't think of a more accurate assessment of Stewart's ability.


Babs said...

True what DW said and probably one of the best things he's ever said.

I hope Yates can turn it around. Please!!

Babs said...

I hope Brian goes to Yates!!
Glad my posts make you smile! :)